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Destroyer minesweeper was a designation given by the United States Navy to a series of destroyers that were converted into high-speed ocean-going minesweepers for service during World War II. The hull number for such a ship began "DMS". Forty-two ships were so converted, beginning with the USS Dorsey (DD-117), converted to DMS 1 in late 1940, and ending with the USS Earle (DD-635), converted to DMS-42 in mid 1945. The type is now obsolete, its function having been taken over by purpose-built ships, designated as "minesweeper (high-speed)" with hull numbers beginning MMD.

The original ships were obsolete four-stack destroyers built during and after World War I with usable power plants. The number 4 boiler, fourth stack, and torpedo tubes were removed, depth charge racks repositioned forward from the stern and angled outboard, and the stern modified to support sweep gear: davits, winch, paravanes, and kites. Two 60-kilowatt turbo-generators replaced the three original 25-kilowatt generators to improve capability for sweeping magnetic and acoustic mines.

Conversion of the initial seventeen ships was completed in October and November 1940, and included eight Wickes class and nine Clemson class destroyers. An additional Wickes class destroyer was converted in 1941. The fictional USS Caine from Herman Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny was a converted Clemson class ship. The 24 later ships in the series were Gleaves class destroyers built during the war.


Navy Memorial Society website

See also

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